Mountain Top Woman Draws On Real Life In Her Debut Novel

By Bob Kalinowski
The Citizens’ Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Writer Lauren Stahl knows first-hand the drama surrounding courtrooms. She was a prosecutor and her father was a judge. While her debut novel is fiction…her real-life story is also quite dramatic.

Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

It’s a thrilling story about a young prosecutor, her prominent judge father and a shocking crime.

While the scenario sounds a lot like Lauren Stahl’s real life, it’s the plot of her new fiction book, “The Devil’s Song,” about the hunt for a serial killer in small-town Pennsylvania.

Stahl, 36, was a Luzerne County assistant district attorney for several years until 2009 when she says she felt pressured to resign after her father, then President Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., was hit with federal corruption charges in connection with the county’s infamous juvenile justice scandal.

In the years since, Stahl avoided the spotlight doing lower-profile legal work, went back to school for creative writing and worked tirelessly to publish her debut novel.

“For me, a writer is someone who takes snippets of his or her life and expands on it. I was in the DA’s office. I get that line of work,” Stahl said in a phone interview earlier this week. “The judge — that makes a lot of sense to me. I was in the DA’s office when my dad was a judge.”

Ciavarella, 67, was accused of harshly sentencing youths to for-profit detention centers while failing to disclose hewas accepting large sums of money from the builder and a co-owner.

He is serving a 27-year prison sentence.

Stahl, of Mountain Top, said she didn’t want to dwell on her father’s fall from grace, but realizes it’s inescapable and is probably the only reason she became an author.

“I felt if I was going to be true to how I got to this place in time, I thought I would be honest. If this never occurred, never happened, I promise you I never would have written a book. The events that happened in my life dictated where I was going,” Stahl said. “But I also hope the book speaks for itself. Maybe when I am on book four, we are just talking about the book.”

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